Gates “Souljers” His Way to First 2023 Title and World Cup Berth

Leonard Gates, the 2022 PDC North American champion, took control of the Main Event #3 final with a tremendous 97.62 average, and won the 2023 HitKor Indianapolis 501 with a 7-1 victory over JT Davis. This is Gates’ first main tour title of the season, and the seventh of his career.

Gates, the fourth seed, had a comfortable run to the finals, starting with a 5-0 victory over Anthony Romero, followed by a 5-3 win over Brian Fenlon and a 6-3 win over Doug Boehm. He then dispatched 12th seed Keith Way 6-3 in the quarter finals and top seed Jacob Taylor 7-2.

Davis played well throughout this event as well. He opened with convincing wins against Justin Fawcett, Stowe Buntz, and Matthew Thompson. He put in the performance of the day with a 101.13 average in his quarterfinal victory over Jason Brandon, and followed that with a tidy victory over Darryl Christie to reach the finals.

Jason Brandon averaged an impressive 94.97 and ten 180s over his four matches to lead the way in both categories, but was ultimately defeated 6-5 by JT Davis in the quarterfinals.

Davis, despite coming up short in the finals, earned his spot at the 2023 PDC US Darts Masters by winning the second qualifier earlier today. He, along with Jason Brandon and Jake MacMillan, who also secured their spots this weekend, will be joined by previous qualifiers Matt Campbell, Jeff Smith, Jules Van Dongen, Alex Spellman, and Jim Long, as they battle to become the 2023 North American champion and earn a spot at the 2024 PDC World Championship. The US Darts Masters takes place June 2-3 in New York City.

While Leonard Gates failed to qualify to defend the North American title he won last year, his victory yesterday secured him a spot on team USA for the PDC World Cup of Darts, taking place June 15-18 in Germany. He will pair with Jules Van Dongen, while the Canadian team will once again be comprised of Matt Campbell and Jeff Smith.

The CDC main tour resumes July 14-16 in Wheeling, Illinois, for main events 4, 5, and 6.

Article by Brian Fraser
May 21, 2023